Lenny Dykstra thinks he was the NL MVP in 1993, not Barry Bonds

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Former Phillies and Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra joined Mike Missanelli on ESPN’s 97.5 The Fanatic on Friday evening. The interview was fascinating, as Dykstra has never been one to hold back. He criticized current Phillies center fielder Ben Revere for his low on-base percentage, talked about his steroid use, the financial mistakes he made in his post-baseball career, and suggested that the Phillies should trade for his son Cutter Dykstra, currently in the Nationals’ minor league system.

This is perhaps the most interesting thing he said in the interview, however — at least to me:

1993 was, of course, the year the Phillies shocked the nation and matched up in the World Series against the Blue Jays. Dykstra finished second in NL MVP voting to Barry Bonds. That season, Dykstra slashed .305/.420/.482 with 19 home runs, 66 RBI, and 37 stolen bases. He led the league in walks with 129, in hits with 194, and in runs with 143. Baseball Reference credits him with an impressive 6.5 Wins Above Replacement.

As good as Dykstra was that season, however, Bonds was way better. The Giants outfielder slashed .336/.458/.677  with a league-leading 46 home runs, 123 RBI, and stole 29 bases as well. Bonds led the league in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and finished with 9.9 WAR. Bonds was the most valuable position player in the National League in 1993. The Giants won 103 games but finished second in the NL West to the Braves, who won 104.

Even aside from Bonds, though, there was a debate between Dykstra and the rest of the field. Baseball Reference also listed Mike Piazza at 7.0 WAR, Ron Gant with 6.5, Robbie Thompson with 6.3, and Jay Bell with 6.2. All worth at least a conversation in the MVP talks, though they all paled in comparison to Bonds.

Sorry, Lenny, you weren’t the National League’s most valuable player in 1993.

Brewers fans gave Josh Hader a standing ovation after he apologized for offensive tweets

Josh Hader
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Brewers reliever Josh Hader received a standing ovation from the crowd at Miller Park during Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Dodgers. In the seventh inning, the 24-year-old southpaw took the mound for the first time since Major League Baseball discovered a slew of racist, homophobic, and misogynistic tweets the player had posted in 2011-12. He was given a protracted round of applause from the home crowd, many of whom stood to loudly cheer before, during, and after the pitcher’s two innings of relief.

The appearance — and the overwhelmingly positive reaction it inspired — followed another apology from Hader after he met with his teammates and coaches and underwent his first round of sensitivity training on Friday. When asked to explain how his beliefs had evolved over the last seven years, he told reporters, “They were never my beliefs. I was young. I was saying stuff out of just ignorance and that’s just not what I meant.” He also revealed that he apologized to his teammates in private and hoped they realize he’s not the same person now, though he failed to publicly address any specific ways in which he had changed his thinking and behavior for the better.

It goes without saying that the response to Hader’s return on Saturday wasn’t a good look for the Brewers or their fans. The fact that the pitcher had some old, vile tweets exposed doesn’t make him a victim deserving of sympathy, nor does an ambiguous apology merit a pat on the back (let alone something as enthusiastic and approving as a standing ovation). Over the last week, there seems to have been a few missed opportunities to speak out about the importance of inclusivity and support for minorities, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community; instead, far more emphasis has been placed on reassuring Hader’s teammates and Major League Baseball at large that the tweets “don’t resemble the person [he] is now.”

It’s certainly possible that the fans in attendance on Saturday were both excited to see Hader return to the mound and cognizant of the long road he has ahead of him as he continues to make amends for his past actions. But that kind of nuanced reaction gets easily misconstrued, and it’s clear that Hader took the applause as a sign that Milwaukee’s fans had forgiven him for the tweets and were ready to move past them.

“It means a lot,” Hader told the media after his performance. “Having Milwaukee’s support, just knowing that they know my true character. Just forgiving me for my past, because that’s not who I am today.” He added that he’s not entirely sure he’ll receive such a quick and generous understanding from fans once the team hits the road on Thursday. Hopefully, he’s right.